ethics in negotiation
What are Ethics in Negotiation?
Ethics in negotiation can involve expectations of fairness, equity, and honesty but, sometimes, despite your best intentions, circumstances might lead you to behave unethically.
Whether we are aware of it or not, we make a series of “micro-decisions” during our time at the bargaining table. Such decisions often revolve around ethics in negotiation, including choosing whether to disclose, conceal, or misrepresent information that would weight outcomes in your own favor.
While that may seem like negotiators aren’t always forthright, most negotiators strive to tell the truth. However, studies suggest the pliability of ethics in negotiation. Many of us may unknowingly adjust our ethical standards based on the negotiation context.
What might those contexts be? One example would be when we find ourselves in uncertain situations. Uncertainty increases the likelihood that we will be unethical, Roy J. Lewicki of Ohio State University and other researchers have noted. Uncertainty about the material facts in a negotiation can inspire unethical behavior.
Ultimately, whether negotiators choose to engage in ethically questionable behavior can depend on a host of factors, such as power and opportunity. As a result, we need to be particularly vigilant to the possibility that we will behave deceptively, even if we have no intention of doing so.
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